Pet medication manufacturer Merial Inc. hopes to take a bite out of the growing market for canine dental chews with the introduction of the veterinary-exclusive OraVet line.
Launched this month during the American Veterinary Medical Association convention, OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews contain delmopinol, a compound commonly used in plaque-inhibiting mouth rinses for people. Merial holds the exclusive license to delmopinol for veterinary use.
OraVet answers “the need for an effective, safe and easy-to-use preventive home care option to support canine oral health,” said Doug Jones, head of Duluth, Ga.-based Merial North America.
The chews, formulated for daily use, are proven effective at reducing halitosis, plaque and calculus by approximately half, the company reported. The study compared dogs given the chews to those on a dry diet alone.
Merial noted that dental chews promote canine health because only 14 percent of dogs receive dental care at a veterinary clinic and only 2 percent of owners brush their pet’s teeth daily.
“Many pet owners recognize the importance of maintaining their dog’s oral health but aren’t always sure what to do,” said Bob Menardi, DVM, director of U.S. Veterinary Technical Services.
OraVet chews are available in three sizes: small, for dogs 10 to 24 pounds; medium, for dogs 25 to 50 pounds; and large, for heavier dogs. An extra-small chew for dogs under 10 pounds should debut late this year, Merial stated.
The average dog owner spent $40 on chews of all types in 2014, according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. That amount compares to $32 in 2008.